A Man, The Boy and a Donkey

As school leaders trying to keep everyone happy all the time is absolutely impossible.  It never hurts to strive for a happy and content campus.  However, trying to please everyone is just not going to happen.  If you are early in your career as a principal or school leader, please know trying to please everyone will cause you to end up miserable yourself.

Yesterday, I shared a fable with you about a donkey.  Today, is another fable about A Man, The Boy and a Donkey.


A Man and his son went to market with their Donkey. As they were walking a countryman passed and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey good for but riding?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey. Soon they passed a group of men and one said: “See that lazy Boy, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. Then they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son march along.”

The Man didn’t know what to do, so he placed his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and passers-by jeered and pointed at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your large son?”

The Man and Boy got down and didn’t know what to do. They thought and thought, until they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole with the donkey to their shoulders. They went on in the middle of the laughter of everyone who met them until they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, wiggling and moving around, caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge into the water and drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them: “Please all, and you will please none!”

Moral- trying to please everyone is impossible. People aren't going to always agree. There will be people on your campus who will not like your decisions and others who do. The job as a school leader is rewarding but difficult. However, take steps along the way to communicate with your staff about your decisions. If they don't agree, they can still support and respect you for the decision you made. Trying to please everyone is a heavy burden to carry. Let's try and do what's best for the students on our campus and in the end that is all that matters.

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